Just A Minute With: Paulo Coelho on digital media

Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:35am EDT
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PARIS (Reuters Life!) - The promotional power of piracy and artistic merits of blogging are among the themes to be discussed by bestselling author Paulo Coelho in his opening address to the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.

The 61-year-old Brazilian writer behind titles such as "The Alchemist" and "Eleven Minutes" is gaining a reputation as a digital pioneer for his enthusiastic embrace of online media.

Coelho maintains a personal blog as well as profiles across several social networking sites. He uses the mobile blogging tool "Twitter' and regularly uploads videos to YouTube under the heading Privacy Zero. A few years ago, he even started distributing digital versions of his books for free over the internet. Reuters Television correspondent for technology, Matt Cowan, spoke to the author at his Paris home.

Q: What is the main reason you do all of this?

A: Fun. It's such a pleasure to do this. I'm not a person that socializes very well. I don't go to cocktail parties. I don't go to parties in general. I discovered this fantastic world behind the web that helps me a lot as far as a professional, as a writer.

Q: How does it help you?

A: Not only is it a way to remain engaged but the basics of any writing is people and human conflicts. People are very reluctant to talk about their private lives but then you go to the internet and they're much more open. Of course they have a persona. You never know if it's true or not true but at the end of the day, even the persona has a good story to tell.

Q: Why do you think blogging is worthwhile?

A: If you asked the monks in Medieval times what they thought about Gutenberg and the press, they'd say "oh, what is the validity of having some printed books? We're here, we're printing, we're designing every single letter with beautiful calligraphy. This is art. This is sacred and the printing process that Gutenberg invented is nothing.' I think we are in the same situation now. People can show and express what they feel through images, text and movies. Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world.   Continued...

<p>Brazilian author Paulo Coelho poses during an interview with Reuters at his home in Paris September 18, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Platiau</p>